Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kodak Practice

Cottonwoods in the Rio Grande Bosque

Aspen in the Sandia Mountains

Library Bus Stop

Since my Kodak No.1 Autographic Special is a candidate for making the trip to Chaco Canyon, I thought I ought put in some time with it. One of the hazards of having a large camera collection is not being comfortably familiar with a particular camera for lack of experience. Every old camera has its quirks, and if you don't work with them enough, you find yourself missing shots you should have gotten.

The Tessar lens on the this near-centenarian Kodak is very sharp, and everything works pretty much as it should. Still, one has to know how to properly compensate for the difference between what the viewfinder shows and what gets on the film. It is also important to take into account the limited depth of focus at near distances, and to exercise care in focal distance estimation.

I have a Series-V lens hood and a filter adapter that fits the Special. I have also recently acquired red and yellow filters to use with it. The big 6x9 negatives do a nice job with texture and tonality, and I think the filtration will add some nice darkened tonality to the skies I am likely to encounter as backgrounds to the architectural ruins at Chaco.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Neighborhood Parade

My Kiev IIa is a 1956 Soviet copy of the Contax II and possibly the best quality rangefinder camera I own. I haven't used it as much as I should as it is a bit bulky compared to some of my other good 35mm cameras.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chaco Bound

We are making plans for another trip to Chaco Canyon. We were last there six years ago. Some of the pictures I liked best from that trip were made with the Dolly Super-Sport. I also shot film with the Pentax and the Yashicamat.

I also shot quite a bit with my Nikon Coolpix digital camera. It did a nice job with many of the scenic compositions, but was totally bamboozled by the red sandstone cliff faces that form a background for the rock art images. I think my current digital, a Canon A650, would likely handle the challenges of the site better, but I may leave it at home. Digital seems to push me toward a careless approach that I think is particularly inappropriate to this subject which really demands thoughtfulness.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shooting the Clack

If you are looking for the best image quality from a simple camera, the Agfa Clack is a good place to start.

The Clack offers greater control than most other box cameras, and the big 6x9 negatives on 120 roll film can produce great sharpness and tonal depth. One does have to keep the single low shutter speed in mind; any movement of subject or camera will greatly degrade sharpness. The close-up setting greatly extends the camera's versatility, but the point of sharp focus is actually at about two meters. Bearing in mind those limitations, the Clack produces images which always seem to exceed my own expectations.

Some of my earlier results from the Clack can be found on the camera's page of my web site.